Mike Thompson had a great article in Human Events on a school’s decision to bar a boy from wearing a kilt to a high school prom. Writes Thompson:
Super Peterka, who is no slave to fashion, ruled that Eric’s painstakingly pleated kilt, consisting of eight yards of high-quality woven wool, was actually–and I am not making this up–a pair of “shorts”! To join his date, Eric was told, he would have to change into a pair of . . . blue jeans! Even non- Scot Levi Strauss spun in his dungaree grave when he heard about the School Super’s super ignorance.
To Eric’s everlasting credit, the young American in Scottish attire said, “No way, and no, thanks!” His assessment of the arbitrary prom-night dress standards by school officials was sharply to the point: “They should be able to accept other cultures and other ideas,” Eric maturely told a Minneapolis television reporter. “That is what education is all about.”
He went on to write:
Besieged laddie Eric Schulzetenberg was dealing not only with the double standard for White European Men, but also the equally double standard for what all men nowadays are expected to wear in public from the waist down. To the question, “Who wears the pants in your family?” the answer is no longer predictable. Since mid-20th-Century revolutions in sex, feminism and selective nonjudgmentalism, most women have relegated their traditional dresses and gowns to mothballed trunks in the attic. Meantime, men can’t even try to distinguish themselves from gals by wearing manly, cowboy-inspired blue-denim jeans, because unisex-crazed ladies have glommed that once-exclusive male fashion statement, too…
Men’s traditional habiliments for eons were robes, togas, tunics, sarongs and other kiltlike garments. Trousers (uneuphonically and derogatorily called trews in Scotland) are a relative newcomer to males’ choice for draping. Come to think of it, that’s why we never see Hollywood period movies depicting Jesus and his Disciples, Roman gladiators, Vikings, Vatican leaders, Buddhist monks, African chieftains, blatantly heterosexual dancing Greeks, Highland Scots and tough-as-nails Albanians, plus countless other men of old, in pants. That devotion to authenticity was one reason actor/director Mel Gibson won an Oscar for Braveheart, the epic film story of Sir William Wallace, Scotland’s most heroic kilt-man, who with his outnumbered, skirted band of warriors smashed King Edward I’s entire English army of pants-wearing fops.
In the interest of full disclosure, I confess that I, a boringly normal Scots-American, just counted in my master clothes closet alone 45 pairs of bifurcated raiments, plus one garment that is uncompromisingly unbifurcated and fashioned from the tastefully rich Thompson dress blue tartan. The first wise guy who orders me to ditch that lone kilt or whistles at me when I put it on, I guarantee, will himself be kilt immediately, with Mel Gibson and The Man Who lives on Ben Nevis as my witnesses to justifiable homicide.
What’s interesting about Thompson’s article is that he’s a former President of the Florida Conservative Union (i.e. a somewhat major Conservative leader.) Its part of a growing trend among Conservatives of Scottish descent to be proud of their heritage and the kilt.
Responses on Free Republic to the article have been overwhelmingly positive:
This school is run by a bunch of friggin’ racists who hate my people. Bottoms up to my fellow Scot in the kilt.
Only real men wear kilts. Before men were neutered, they all wore kilts. Pants are Johnny-come lately. Take a lesson, fellas. Go to a Celtic Faire and watch who the women flock to. Trousers represent the oppression of men, denying them freedom of movement. Also, the establishment fears kilts because they know men conceal weapons under them.
As a frequent wearer of the kilt, I’d like to see someone tell me I wasn’t appropriately dressed for such a function.
-This type of diversity has made liberals squeamish. As Thompson mentioned the principal was the one who forbade the kilt, and as a group they tend to be notoriously left wing. I think a lot of this goes back to the movie Braveheart and the growing kilt trend. For a lot of folks, that’s where it started in terms of interest in the Highland Games and Kilts and the movie was far more popular with conservatives than liberals.
Of course, there were liberals who liked it because its a great movie, just like Conservatives liked Babe or other movies that come from a liberal perspective because there well-made good quality movies.
Of course, fact detectors will point out that the costuming in Braveheart was historically inaccurate, but at one level it doesn’t matter. What Braveheart did for a lot of people is create an association with the kilt for a lot of people with virtues like courage, integrity, honor, and patriotic nationalism. That’s why even the non-kilt wearing conservatives are defending it.
Part of it is also the idea that European heritages can be celebrated in a way that’s not disrespectful to minorities, but still shows pride in ancestry and where we’ve come from.